I am wanting to add a plug in outlet to one side of my dual motion light sensor. Is this outlet only gong to work when the sensor light comes on? Or will it have a constant electrical feed?

  • 3
    Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Unless you'd be happy with an "It Depends" answer, you'll need to give us more info (a wiring diagram, a clear photo of the inside of the switch box, more text, etc). – Daniel Griscom Feb 24 '19 at 18:32
  • Can you post photos of the insides of the boxes involved? – ThreePhaseEel Feb 24 '19 at 19:20
  • Installed pre or post sensor? – Jeff Cates Feb 24 '19 at 20:26

If I understand correctly, you'd like to screw a plug adapter into one of the bulb sockets on your flood light. If so, here are the caveats that come to mind:

  • The outlet will only be live when the adjacent bulb is lit. It would use the same electrical contacts that the bulb would.
  • There will be a current limitation that you could easily violate by plugging other devices into the light socket. The socket and its connected wiring are designed only for the current load of light bulbs up to the maximum listed wattage. In the case of a 75 watt flood lamp, that's less than one amp. The wiring may be fine up to say 5 amps, but we can't know for sure, and you open yourself up to smoky outcomes if someone else comes along and plugs a table saw into it.

In general, it's not a good idea. Used with caution, it could work for a short run of holiday lights, for example, without issue.


Yes, that will be fine. Those 2-light sensors are packaged units that get supplied always-hot. You can tap that.


You should turn off the breaker before doing any work.

Most flood lights have a interior wall switch that regulates when they work or not.

For wiring an external weather rated receptacle that is GFCI protected and accessible, you probably should put the GFCI in the panel as a breaker ( not always a DIY job ). Per 2017 NEC the GFCI should be accessible.

When wiring the the GFCI protected receptacle to the light, you should see a black, red, white, and ground. The black wire would be pig-tailed to supply the permanent power.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.